When it comes to saving for retirement, Americans are woefully underprepared. A study by Bankrate.com found that around 28% of Americans have no emergency savings. Similarly, another 21% of Americans have some savings, but only enough to cover expenses for three months. Couple that with the economic uncertainty of Social Security and Medicare, and you can see why many people are looking for unconventional ways to free up cash for retirement.
Here's a simple, albeit controversial, idea: don't have any kids. A 2011 report by the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion now puts the cost of raising a single child to the age of 17 at roughly $235,000. That's up 3.5% from the year before. Schooling, transportation, day care and feeding are the costs that are seeing the largest increases when it comes to raising a child. As expected, if a family makes more, the spending ratchets up exponentially. That would be quite the nest egg if you didn't have to allocate it for children, wouldn't you say?
No College Costs
According to the academic think tank College Board, the average cost of just one year at a public university is around $21,000. If you're talking private school, the cost is nearly twice as much for just one year of tuition costs. Even more troubling is the fact that college costs are not included in the aforementioned $235,000. Just think how much cushier things would be for you and your spouse if you could boost your retirement portfolio by an extra $84,000.
Far Less Stress
Anyone who tells you raising a child isn't a source of gray hair is simply lying. Trying to balance kids and work, keeping your offspring on the straight and narrow and waging daily homework battles can result in a lot of stress for parents. By not having kids, you alone set the priorities for life, for work and for finances. Your retirement fund will also benefit.
More Free Time
Just imagine no PTA meetings, no carpooling, no Little League, no bake sales and no birthday parties. Your days before and after work will be free. If you want to be proactive toward retirement, you can put this time to good use by generating extra income. You could sign up to fill out paid surveys online, sell your stuff on the Internet or even start a side business. You'd be hard-pressed to make time for these financially beneficial activities with a household full of kids.
No Childcare Payments
Today, both halves of a married couple generally work. The thinking is that the extra income can cover child care. According to the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, a year of child care can cost nearly $20,000. Not only can you save money by not having kids, you can generate a lot more of it.
No Need for an Inheritance
If you have kids, it's natural to want to leave something behind for them when you pass. If you don't have kids to begin with, you'll never have to worry about that. You can either spend the money during retirement, or you can leave your money to a charity
The Bottom Line
In many ways, having kids costs you dearly. Also, it's getting more and more expensive by the day. If you're single, or married with no kids, you might want to consider the notion of not having kids. The notion may seem radical to some. From a purely financial standpoint, however, there are plenty of perks to not having kids. Would you choose retirement over offspring?